Do you know what mankind is capable of? The highest highs, the lowest lows. At once a saint and a sinner. What divides the two parts of our whole? What separates the average work-a-day Joe on the street from the serial killer or the terrorist? Perhaps demon possession or culture or upbringing or misplaced trust or brainwashing. These are questions and issues that are explored in Ted Dekker's thriller Thr3e. You might also say that the thread that ties this whole novel together is a bit of New Testament scripture from the book of Romans.
I do not understand what I do ... It is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me ... For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing.
The story begins when the sympathetic protagonist, Kevin Parsons, a 28 year old seminary student, gets a call while driving home in his car. A man who identifies himself as Slater tells him that he has 3 minutes to confess his sin to the world. If he should fail, the bomb attached to his car will be set off. He is also given a riddle to consider. This is just the first episode where Kevin is plagued by Slater, fails in understanding what this madman could be searching for, and an explosion follows in ever escalating fashion.
Along the way we are introduced to Kevin's life-long best friend, Samantha, a girl who once lived a few houses down from Kevin and who went on to study law enforcement and now works in the California Bureau of Investigations. We also meet the FBI agent assigned to this domestic terror case, Jennifer. As she digs to understand who Kevin is so that she can better understand Slater's motive, she comes to appreciate Kevin as a person. A simple, honest, unaffected man, perhaps even child-like in his naiviety. We also get a glimpse into Kevin's family, and the more we learn about them and their particular issues and pecularities, the more something about Slater just doesn't make complete sense. However, the logical inconsistencies only start to be fleshed out the more Slater's campaign evolves. Perhaps some folks used to reading thrillers and spotting clues, will understand how things will evolve as the story unfolds, but you won't fully appreciate the twist that sets this one apart until the end. Although the ending and wrap-up of this tale is a bit weak and could have been better developed, I still found this a fun read from start to finish.